2018-05-30 14:00 fiction cyclopaedia

Cyclopaedia Chapter Nine: Cooperation

When Slv&Elin arrived at the Division, Jon, Ove's assistant, was waiting for them. They apologized for being late. Jon tried making small talk about the Electric outage, which was more widespread than they'd thought, it effected the entire city. He was trying to be amiable, although he was certainly nervous. Slv&Elin asked him about his meeting at the cafe with Compiler Hedvin. He repeated the same things, with acceptable deviations, that Hedvin had told them. The assistants, he said, did believe Ove was behaving, if not oddly, at least differently. Why didn't you tell us this earlier, Slv&Elin asked. He wasn't sure that there was a quantifiable difference until he and Pietr talked about it a few days after Ove was gone. But it wasn't enough deviance to have made Ove's disappearance seem expected, Jon said, at least that's the conclusion they came to.

"And there's another thing, something I only noticed that next day," he said, reaching into his pocket, slightly shaking, pulling out a folded piece of paper, "these notes were on Ove's desk, in his handwriting, but I can't understand any of it, it's not in any sort of notation that we use."

"You took paper from Ove's office?" Elin asked.

"Yes... yes. I mean, I only borrowed it to see if I could make anything out. I'm sure it doesn't have anything to do with anything really, it's probably just research for Cyclopaedia taxonomies, at least that's what Compiler Hedvin thinks. I was going to bring it to you regardless, today in fact, whether or not you called me in."

"Compiler Hedvin has seen this paper as well?"

"He thought he might know what it is, some old Compiler shorthand. Something historical that maybe Ove thought could help with the Master Compiler. I'm sorry I took it. I know the Director's policy about this, but I really did believe I could make some sense out of it... I'm sorry I took it. If the Director knew about this I would certainly lose my position at the lab." Jon said. Slv&Elin believed he was genuinely contrite.

"Thank you for bringing this to our attention," Slv said, taking the paper from him.

"There isn't any reason we have to tell the Director," Elin added.

"Oh, well, that's fortunate..." Jon sighed.

"But we will need to ask for your help," Slv said.

"Really? What sort of help?" Jon gulped.

"We want you to setup another meeting with Compiler Hedvin, at the cafe," Slv said.

"We'll let you know when it should be," Elin said, taking the paper from Slv.

"And what, ah, what would the meeting be about? What should I say?" Jon asked.

Slv relpied, "It doesn't matter—make something up. Or don't. No, tell him about us–"

"–tell him you gave the paper to us and we agreed to not tell the Director. Telling the truth would be better," Elin said.

Slv added, "Just tell him about this meeting. The important part is getting him to the cafe when we ask you to."

"Did Compiler Hedvin do something wrong?" Jon seemed wary.

"The investigation is ongoing, we can't say more than that, other than this is a very serious matter."

"You'll cooperate? We have your word?"

"You have my word," Jon said.

He left, sullenly. He was no doubt disappointed that he continued to be entangled in the investigation. They could utilize his distress however.

Slv&Elin examined the paper. They had to assume it was Ove's handwriting. His wife or the Director could confirm this, but they believed Jon. The Director may understand the contents, which to Slv&Elin was an odd explosion of line work, with circles and diamond shapes containing symbols they'd never seen before. What alphabet was it, if it was an alphabet. Compiler Hedvin might also know. He certainly had already seen the paper, and perhaps, for some unknown reason, copied it. When they were ready they would instruct Jon to meet Hedvin. Jon will nervously tell Hedvin that he, or both of them, are under suspicion in Ove's disappearance. And when that meeting takes place, Slv&Elin would thoroughly search Compiler Hedvin's apartment.

"The other important matter today."

"Visiting Konrad."

"Maybe we can avoid getting the Garde involved."

"And if we can't, we should be prepared."